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Tired of sending the same old emails, over and over? Tout is a web app that allows you to create email templates, schedule and send templated emails, manage contacts and track the success of the sent emails. While these kind of features are available in email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Tout is aimed at personal, one-on-one communication, rather than bulk email and newsletters.
Tout’s email templating feature doesn’t really do much that you couldn’t also achieve with Gmail’s Canned Responses feature, (s goog), although it does include basic mail merge features to automatically personalize each email, and handily templates can include file attachments. Where Tout gets really interesting, however, is in its analytics, which enables a user to track how successful each email and each template is. Users can see which emails have been opened and whether the recipient has clicked a link within the email. These stats could be useful when refining a pitch, but could also be potentially useful in other scenarios, too; a manager could use Tout to track emails sent the team and use it to optimize his or her communications. (Note: Tout tracks whether an email has been opened by inserting an invisible image into the message; this is not a particularly reliable tracking method, as many email clients don’t download images by default. The click metrics are obtained by redirecting links and should be much more reliable.). Teams can share templates, and Tout integrates with several CRM applications: Highrise, Capsule CRM and Batchbook. The service also caters to users who spend time outside of the office, with a mobile-optimized version of the website and a “send by SMS” that allows users to quickly send templated emails via text message.
The company has recently obtained a round of seed funding and will be participating in Dave McClure’s 500 Startups program this summer. I spoke with founder Tawheed Kader about the product and its future, and he said that while the app was originally designed with sales and marketing in mind (hence its name), it’s also useful in any situation where repetitive emails are sent, such as job and apartment searches. Kader has ambitious plans for the product, and sees it being “the future of business email,” with the app used throughout an organization to improve email effectiveness, incorporating group discussion and introduction features, a “template store” and other tools. Whether the company is able to transition the app from being primarily a sales and marketing tool into a more general purpose application remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a useful service for anyone looking to track and optimize their email.
Tout’s available on several plans, depending on the number of emails to be sent and features required. There’s also a limited free plan, which enables user to send seven emails per day and doesn’t have access to some features. A team plan that enables sharing of templates is available for $99 per month. All plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.